Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Music and Fantasy

Quietly it crept in
And changed us all

-Blind Guardian

When contemplating fantasy music it is often the instrumental pieces, like those heard in the new Lord of the Rings Trilogy that come to mind. However fantasy has had a long and comfortable home in Heavy Metal. Many Metal artists are nerds, the coolest nerds ever, but never-the-less nerds. The Metallica song "Things That Should Not Be" was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's "Old Ones". Led Zeppelin also gave a fantasy twist to much of their music, with a number of songs based on the Lord of The Rings (i.e. "Over the Hills and Far Away", "Misty Mountain Hop", "The Battle of Evermore," and "Ramble On"). While many thrash metal, heavy metal, and general metal artists will have a song here or there about the fantasy world, there is one type of metal that is based primarily on fantasy. Power metal is inspired by the world of the fantastic.

According to, there are over 5000 power metal bands in the world. Power metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that combines traditional and speed metal elements, and is often more symphonic in nature. Along with a similar music style, power metal songs tend to share the same theme, fantasy and magic. Elvenking takes not only their name from the fantastic, but their songs include those same elements. Elves, dragons, kingdoms, and magic all appear in power metal songs. For example Evenking's “The Perpetual Knot” uses language reminiscent of highly magical days of Viking days of yore:
"Walking the trails of the perpetual knot
Search for the fibres,
the dwelling light net of Wyrd
Roaming souls on branch of Mother Earth"

Dragonland, while also conjuring old English settings, delves right into fantasy in their song “Majesty of the Mithril Mountains”:
"The time of wonders has come
The Dragons soaring high."

If Viking movies and novels are up your alley, or you just want something which brings you back to the magic of old, Power metal is the way to go.

Rocking it out with Elves,
J.R. West the Raccoon